A Truck by Any Other Name

Breaking into the beneficial truck market isn’t for the faint of heart. Subaru’s Baja lasted 4 limited yrs, Honda had to butch up the looks of its Ridgeline to safe a seat at the table, and even Toyota’s T100 stumbled until eventually it became the V-8-run Tundra. And who can forget the Ford Explorer Activity Trac? It would appear that to be successful in this segment, your truck experienced far better search and perform like, properly, a truck.

In what could be an try to control anticipations, Hyundai isn’t really employing the “t” term to explain its new entry, rather referring to it as a “Activity Adventure Automobile.” Hyundai even goes so significantly as to declare the Santa Cruz was not built as a mid-size truck competitor, but 1 seem at the bundle and it truly is tough to classify it as just about anything else.

Generate it and you might be not so rapid to throw out the “t” term. The Santa Cruz rides on an prolonged variation of the Tucson crossover’s platform, with struts up front and a multilink suspension with self-leveling dampers out again. Its 118.3-inch wheelbase (nearly 10 inches more time than the Tucson) contributes to a quiet and composed trip, with none of the rear-stop skittishness at times current in a entire-dimension pickup with an empty mattress. Maneuverability in city is carlike. At 195.7 inches very long and 75. inches huge, the Santa Cruz easily slots into parking places. Pushed with haste along two-lane again roads, the Santa Cruz is agile, remaining reasonably flat by way of the corners.

The top rated-variety Limited illustration we drove experienced a lot of punch to go alongside with its moves. Borrowed from the more substantial Santa Fe, its turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four kicks out a meaningful 281 horsepower. An 8-speed dual-clutch computerized channels the torque to all 4 wheels. Off the line, this powertrain will wait a beat just before its turbo starts charging, but it promptly builds a head of steam, offering a stout 311 pound-feet of torque from 1700 to 4000 rpm. Lesser models ditch the turbo and the twin clutch for a 191-hp 2.5-liter and a standard 8-pace automatic. The foundation 2.5-liter musters just 181 pound-ft of torque and is a thing we would skip. In an all-wheel-push Tucson, the nonturbo 2.5-liter benefits in a sluggish 8.8-2nd time to 60 mph. Entrance-wheel generate is common here, with all-wheel push a $1500 alternative. There is no hybrid variant, but considering that the Tucson characteristics each hybrid and plug-in variations, we predict the carefully similar Santa Cruz will observe accommodate in the future.

Regardless of its Tucson underpinnings, the Santa Cruz is able of trucklike actions. Turbo all-wheel-travel designs are rated to tow 5000 lbs, and even the base front-drive set up can tow 3500 pounds. Trailer sway management, a perform of the security manage technique, will help mitigate untoward trailer motions and will come common on all types. Off-road excursions are also attainable, as 8.6 inches of floor clearance is more than enough to get you into the tough stuff. A good 23.2-diploma departure angle will guarantee you will probably get out of most moderately difficult circumstances with out leaving the rear bumper on the trail. The journey alone could not be completely clean, as we uncovered that the stickiness of the Santa Cruz’s flooring-mounted throttle pedal can make it tricky to retain a smooth crawling velocity.

Duality of purpose notwithstanding, the correct make-or-split characteristic here lies out again. Where most truck beds are a blank canvas, this is far more of an artist’s toolkit. As the Santa Cruz is designed solely for the North American marketplace, the growth team labored to bake in a broad array of usable flexibility that would appeal to the out of doors-experience set that marketers appreciate to target. Essential to this mission is a dent-resistant molded composite bed (as opposed to stamped metal), which allowed the workforce to make use of every single sq. inch of the space—whether it truly is in, beneath, or atop the bed.

Packed with cubbies and hidden compartments, the Santa Cruz’s plastic bed is a lot more intricate than a puzzle box. Just as in the Honda Ridgeline, you can find a lockable underfloor storage space situated near more than enough to the tailgate that it truly is uncomplicated to retrieve goods without straining you. Drain plugs make it a excellent place to keep beverages on ice. Extra storage can be located on the sides of the bed powering the wheel wells, along with an AC energy outlet with sufficient existing to run a modest fridge. There are tie-downs all through, as nicely as an adjustable cleat system. The room higher than the wheel wells is wide sufficient to accommodate 4-foot-wide sheets of plywood.

Hyundai also went bonkers on the components. Whatsoever product your passion demands, the Santa Cruz can likely safe, retailer, and transportation it. With the tailgate down, it can accommodate a few of dust bikes or kayaks. A factory tonneau cover retracts to the entrance of the mattress and is a lot simpler to use than the folding employment seen on some pickups. Precut tabs on the best of the bed rails can be punched out to add a canopy method. And when was the final time you observed a truck with roof-mounted crossbars?

Climb in and you are going to explore an inside mostly shared with the Tucson. The instrument panel and infotainment screen are neatly tucked into the dash, fairly than staying mounted on top rated. The final result is a clean up, lower-profile dashtop, which allows for excellent ahead visibility. The Santa Cruz accommodates tall passengers in each rows, with a lot of headroom and first rate legroom in the rear. Like several pickups with smaller sliding rear home windows, objects that go via are confined to matters the sizing of soccer balls and 6-packs.

The centre stack characteristics all of Hyundai’s latest tech. Most types aspect an 8.-inch touchscreen, with wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile normal. Special to the Minimal trim is a 10.3-inch display with navigation. As with the Tucson, the technique with the much larger display screen can not do wi-fi cellphone mirroring you’ll have to plug in your cellphone like it truly is 2018. Most controls surrounding the procedure are of the capacitive-contact wide range, which glance modern but draw in their truthful share of fingerprints. In what’s a to start with for Hyundai, a tiny tiny Santa Cruz emblem adorns the buttons for air recirculation and hill descent manage. The Santa Cruz’s interior and exterior is peppered with other Easter eggs.

In spite of what Hyundai statements, those little illustrations without a doubt resemble the shape of a truck mainly because the Santa Cruz’s silhouette says truck. But the exterior lacks the upright and squared-off look that characterizes traditional pickups. The styling is a muscular and bulked-up acquire on Hyundai’s latest layout language, and the significant, bold grille comprehensive of brightwork is handsome. But the Santa Cruz appears to be like a crossover-turned-pickup. It would make no try to cover its roots.

Arguing how truckish it is or is just not may well be exciting for internet arguments (Be sure to remark below—Ed.), but the greatest impediment for the Santa Cruz could be its rate. Foundation SE variations start off at $25,175 and contain a great volume of normal products, but opting for the turbo requires an added $10K. Top rated-spec Constrained designs start off at a steep $40,905. This pricing turns into an problem when you think about a entire world in which the similarly sized Ford Maverick exists. A Maverick starts at just a hair over $20,000 and characteristics a conventional hybrid powertrain. It also features additional traditional truck styling, which might make it extra beautiful to additional common truck purchasers. But Hyundai is having yet another tack—it stays to be found if its gamble will pay back off. So most likely the query will become: Do you want a truck, or do you want a Santa Cruz?

Technical specs


2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz
Automobile Sort: entrance-engine, front- or all-wheel-travel, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup

Price tag

Foundation: SE, $25,175 SEL, $28,375 Constrained, $40,905


DOHC 16-valve 2.5-liter inline-4, 191 hp, 181 lb-ft turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.5-liter inline-4, 281 hp, 311 lb-ft


8-pace twin-clutch automatic, 8-velocity automatic


Wheelbase: 118.3 in
Size: 195.7 in
Width: 75. in
Height: 66.7 in
Passenger Quantity: 104 ft3
Control Pounds (C/D est): 3750–4100 lb

Effectiveness (C/D EST)

60 mph: 7.5–8.9 sec
1/4-Mile: 15.5–16.9 sec
Top rated Pace: 120 mph

EPA Gasoline Overall economy

Put together/Metropolis/Highway: 22–23/19–21/26–27 mpg

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